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Somali Opposition Leaders Warn Against ‘Secret’ Oil Deals With Foreign Firms

The presidential candidates said they had credible information that the government was planning to sign a secret oil exploration and drilling deal with two foreign companies.

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The Council of Presidential Candidates Union has issued warnings to the Somalian Government against entering oil exploration and drilling agreements with foreign firms prior to the end of its term.

The presidential candidates say they had credible information that the government was planning to sign a secret oil exploration and drilling deal with two foreign companies.

He conveyed his message in a letter addressed to President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, Speaker of the Lower House Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Aabdirahman, Speaker of the Upper House, Abdi Hashi Aabdullahi, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble among others.

The letter published on the Twitter page of Aabdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, one of the candidates, read “We have received information that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Federal Republic of Somalia, on behalf of the Somali government, is planning to sign a secret Petroleum exploration and drilling agreement with two foreign companies in the coming days. If this happens, it will pose a great danger to the future, standing and unity of the Somali Nation and its natural resources.”

“On June 5, 2018, the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member states signed an agreement on sharing of natural resources in Baidoa, which states that any agreement on the drilling, exploration or search for oil in the country must be transparent, thoroughly debated, evaluated and agreed upon, and finally approved by the House of the People of the Federal Republic of Somalia, before it is signed,” the letter said.

The presidential candidates noted that the “secret” agreement the ministry is going to sign “is against all the laws and regulations on natural resources that have been approved by the Federal Parliament of Somalia, agreements between the federal government and federal member states, and the general understanding of the responsibility of protecting the natural resources of our country.”

The letter the candidate sent to the president also stressed that the “secret” agreement will “violate the agreements between the Federal Government of Somalia and international monetary institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.”

In the letter, it was also stated that the agreement will “put the debt relief process at great risk and will result in Somalia being forced to go back to conditions already fulfilled, or the failure of the entire debt relief process, which is important for the country’s economic growth and its ability to attract investment”.

The Presidential Candidates’ Union showed concerns that the said agreements comes only 38 days before the current government’s term comes to an end, which they said “creates strong suspicions”.

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Bobi Wine Rejects Preliminary Presidential Election Results

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Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, candidate of the National Unity Platform in Uganda’s Presidential election has rejected the preliminary results posted by the electoral commission.

The Electoral Commission of Uganda has declared preliminary results from more than 10,000 polling units. From the results, incumbent President, Yoweri Museveni is leading closest competitor, Bobi Wine with a difference of over 2 million votes between both candidates.

As at the 5th update of the electoral commission, Museveni had 3,091,725 votes while Bobi Wine had 1,445,805 votes. Museveni currently has 62.74% of the votes while Kyagulanyi has garnered 29.34% of total votes cast.

Bobi Wine in a Press conference held in his home said the electoral commission was just there to announce the results given to it. He said the results being announced do not reflect the will of Ugandans.

“At the National tally center, Mr Byabakama, the chairperson of the EC is not in charge. Byabakama is only there to come and announce what has been given to him by several operatives who have been deployed there, ” Bobi Wine said.

Recall that the internet was shut down in Uganda barely a day before the election.

Several CSOs and electoral information-based NGOs were also denied accreditation to observe the election.

The US government and the EU were also not granted accreditation before the election.

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South Sudan Ready to Mediate Between Sudan, Ethiopia to end Border Conflict

On Thursday, Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan met with Tut Gatluak, South Sudan’s presidential adviser on security affairs

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Sudan’s Sovereign Council says President Salva Kiir of South Sudan has expressed willingness to be an intermediary between Sudan and Ethiopia to end their ongoing border conflict.

Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan met with Tut Gatluak, South Sudan’s presidential adviser on security affairs, who conveyed president Kiir’s message verbally, the council said in a statement.

“President Salva Kiir has expressed readiness to mediate between Sudan and Ethiopia to reach a political and diplomatic solution according to the recognised international borders in preservation of the fraternal ties between the two countries and the peace in the region,” Gatluak was quoted by the statement as saying.  

Al-Burhan stressed “the friendly and fraternal solution” for the border dispute between the two countries, Gatluak added. Since September 2020, the Sudan-Ethiopia border has been witnessing rising tensions and violent clashes with accusations and counter accusations between the two sides.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, that an Ethiopian military plane penetrated the Sudanese airspace in what it termed “a serious and unjustified escalation.”

Sudan accuses Ethiopian farmers of seizing Sudanese lands at Sudan’s Fashaga area along the border and cultivating them since 1995, claiming that the farmers were backed by armed forces.

On December 16 last year, the Sudanese army said its troops were ambushed on the Sudanese side of the border, by Ethiopian forces and militias.

Then on December 19, the Sudanese army said it had deployed strong reinforcements to the Gadaref State on the eastern border with Ethiopia. Khartoum then announced the retaking of what it terms as “the seized lands.”

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Uganda Election, a Success – Commission

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The chairman of Uganda’s electoral commission, Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, has hailed the fiercely contested presidential and parliamentary as a success.

At a news conference in the capital Kampala, he said Ugandans had turned up in large numbers and voted peacefully in spite of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ugandans formed long queues on Thursday to cast their vote in a hotly contested poll in which long-time President Yoweri Museveni faces off against pop star-turned-politician Bobi Wine.

Earlier ballot boxes arrived late at polling stations and biometric voter verification machines failed. But Mr Byabakama said these were just isolated incidents.

The main opposition candidate, Bobi Wine, said some of his polling agents had been arrested.

He’s challenging the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni who’s been in power for nearly 35 years.

Museveni said he would accept the result if there were no irregularities.

People turned out in droves to make their mark in a historic poll in which the power of autocrat Museveni, who has been president for 35 years, will be truly tested for the first time.

Museveni’s government, keenly aware of a threat to its rule, shut down the internet on Wednesday evening, a few hours before the start of voting.

Eleven candidates are vying for the top seat, including two retired generals who turned against their former boss, in an election already overshadowed by violence.

But only Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, is said to have a real chance of winning against Museveni.

Museveni, 76, is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders and has changed Uganda’s constitution to enable him to run for yet another five-year term.

Wine, 38, is meanwhile believed to solidly lead the mass of young voters against the ruling generation.

“We are representing the common people, the young people and the poor people of Uganda,’’ Wine said after casting his vote in the capital, Kampala.

“It is such a great honour to represent my generation in such a monumental election, and my hope and prayer is that we can realise what we have aspired for a long period of time,’’ he added.

Museveni was set to vote in western Uganda on Thursday.

The atmosphere is tense in Uganda. The run-up to the election has seen almost daily violence, and armed police and military forces are patrolling the streets in each major city.

The army also put up checkpoints every few kilometres to control the crowds during Election Day.

More than 18 million registered voters are expected to cast their vote at roughly 35,000 polling stations across the country between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. (0400-1400 GMT).

After ballot boxes had arrived late at numerous polling stations, the electoral commission announced voting, initially scheduled to stop at 1300 GMT, will be possible for an extra hour.

Voters will also elect more than 400 members of parliament on Thursday.

Results are expected within 48 hours after the end of voting.

A candidate needs at least 50 per cent of votes to win in the first round. If any candidate fails to do so, a run-off election will be scheduled.

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